While devilled eggs and cucumber sandwiches flourish across spreads at springtime festivities, we thought perhaps a tasty shake-up of the norm was in order for your gatherings this spring/summer season. Celebrate the much-welcomed return of warmer weather with these inventive cocktail & canapé combos that are sure to surprise even your most sophisticated guests, and please the palates of the rest.
In these bite-sized beauties, the nutty, earthy tones of roasted chestnut mushrooms blend eloquently with the refreshing crunch of fresh watercress and the richness of cream cheese.
Select a pack of chestnut mushrooms of a uniform size that would be comfortably devoured in one bite (the watercress can make for messy eating if multiple bites are required). Carefully pull off the stems and gently carve a small hollow into the fanned underside of each mushroom.
Toss them with olive oil and a touch of sea salt. Place the mushrooms in a shallow pan and roast them at 220C for five minutes – or as long as it takes for them to start to soften without shrinking too much.
After they have cooled, fill each indentation with a twirl of watercress and then top with a weighty dollop of cream cheese. Crack fresh pepper on top and plate carefully!
Decadent chicken salad studded with moreish almond slivers and buoyed by the citrus zing of mandarin meets the elegant crunch of grilled bread in this appealing appetiser.
For the salad, mix poached chicken breast with a few tablespoons of mayonnaise, cracked pepper, a pinch of sage, and a cup of sliced almonds. For the crostini, cut a baguette into slices about half an inch in thickness, brush them with olive oil, sprinkle a bit of sea salt, then grill them until crisp and golden.
Once your crostini have cooled, lay them out in uniform rows on a square serving plate, top them with a spoonful of chicken salad and adorn each with a bright segment of mandarin.
The delightful sweetness and light chartreuse hues of frozen honeydew melon balls make this bubbly cocktail both pleasing to the eye and refreshing to the palate.
With the small end of a melon baller, scoop out spheres of honeydew melon onto a baking sheet. Cover liberally with cling film to seal it from any intruding flavours and place in the freezer. After they freeze completely, fill a punch bowl with the lovely round melon “ice cubes”.
Top with a third part of gin, then one part elderflower fizz and one part sparkling wine. In a separate bowl, crush a sprig of fresh rosemary and then whisk it with lemon juice and honey to taste. Pour this into your punch bowl and stir vigorously. Garnish each cup with a few vibrantly red raspberries and a jaunty sprig of rosemary.